The Concept of Coliving in India
Ergonomic desks and a vibrant space are the caricatures of modern-day coworking spaces. In stark contrast to every traditional office’s space that has a rigid structure, stagnant hierarchy and a mundane vibe, it is safe to say that coworking has garnered an increasing special position in Indian workspace market. Coworking has transformed offices spaces the way Apple transformed the smartphone industry. Just like we did away with our qwerty keypads, coworking eliminates the most strenuous office factors i.e stress, boredom and lethargy.
However, the ever-growing number of educated, middle-class millennials in India has led to the creation of a whole new marketplace – ‘Shared Housing & Accommodation’
Moreover, JLL, India’s largest professional real estate services company, estimates that over 13 million people will work out of co-working spaces by 2020 and pegs the adoption rates of coworking spaces in India at 40 – 50% in 20181 which is largely a positive sign for the coworking industry.
With a thriving sharing economy, Co-living in India already seems like a good bet with the residential market being valued at $20 billion2. In definition, Co-living spaces in India are affordable shared accommodations furnished with home-like amenities with a flexible option to come and go as you like, eliminating the hassles of long lease & holding time along with high rental charges.
The Convenience of Co-living
India already has over 600 million people under the age of 253, more than any other country in the world. This will lead to a massive migration towards cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. A 2016 UN Reports finds that almost 9.6 million people will move to New Delhi alone by 2030. With such numbers, the market for sharing economy is expected to boom and co-living is vested to become a major winner.
Startups such as CoHo, ZiffyHomes and Stayabode already have co-living set up in major Indian cities. Targeting millennials, co-living solves problems of traditional PG rentals by providing plug-n-playrooms with facilities & amenities such as in-house cooks, wi-fi, laundry services and much more.
Co-living spaces also remove the hassles of dealing with pesky landowners and brokers. Along with that co-living spaces are mostly equipped with CCTV cameras and take security concerns very seriously, especially in case of women safety. Other benefits include community events, central locations, diversity and flexibility to move out any time you like.
The USP of co-living spaces is the community it offers to single millennials who often either move to study or work in a corporate environment. Coliving in India bridges the gap of ‘Unmet Social Needs’, a crucial variable that affects our mental health and overall well-being. Interaction, safety and flexibility are the main pillars that drive the prosperous growth of co-living, and further attract millennials to it.
On top of that, add relatively competitive rental charges that are inclusive of the provided facilities with no hidden charges in the context of rental PG’s and accommodation in Indian cities where you have to pay for separate add-ons such as meals, utility bills and parking spaces. Indeed, this makes co-living pose as an enticing option.
Rising Costs & The Future of Co-living.
Despite all that said, rising real estate costs may thwart the growth of coliving in India as people tend to shift to traditional unorganised accommodations as soon as the prices rise even by 10%. Hence, burning capital due to increasing operating costs while expanding a niche user base by offering cheaper rentals is altogether a difficult business model to sustain.
However, on the brighter side coliving does solve a diverse set of issues faced by students and working professionals but the real question persists – will the coliving trend transform how we live in cities, the way coworking revolutionized how we work or will it find it difficult to survive in the uncertain Indian market?
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